The colleges where the American dream is still alive

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Published at : 20 Oct 2020
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These schools are much better than Harvard, Yale, or Princeton at making poor kids rich.

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Wealthy, prestigious universities such as Harvard Yale, Stanford and Columbia garner billions in donations with the message of financial aid. They show off case after case of talented students from humble backgrounds reaching the top 1% after attending elite schools. The story goes that these universities aren’t just world leaders in cutting-edge research, they’re engines of upward social mobility.

But the latest research by the Equality of Opportunity project suggests this is a myth. A study 10.8 million people on the effect colleges have at moving kids born into the bottom 20 percent of the income distribution up to the top 20 percent showed that though elite universities are very good at moving students up the income ladder, they let in very few low-income students. The problem isn’t one of financial aid, but outreach; thousands of high-achieving poor kids just aren’t applying to elite schools.

The true heroes are less selective schools that let in a large number of students from the bottom 20%. They include Cal State Los Angeles and PACE University. These schools take in the most low-income students who move to the top fifth of income in the US after graduation.

Read more about colleges offering the most social upward mobility: https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/2/28/14359140/chetty-friedman-college-mobility

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